Thursday, February 21, 2008


Perhaps for the first time in history, America faces a “product” problem where conventional capitalist solutions can’t seem to abrogate a severe dilemma. Billions of dollars are fattening up plump administrations hopelessly fighting a delusory “war” on drugs, while communities across North America are seeing their children as young as eight years old exposed in the school yard to the latest mind-bending drug of the month. There is nothing appreciably or demonstrably effective with the War On Drugs. The term is a rationalization for the continuing and progressive build-up of a bloated infrastructure achieving absolutely NO cogent or even compelling results.

From heroin, to cocaine and methamphetamines, extreme psychoactive substance use continues to burgeon pervasively through our society (I don’t include marijuana here as it is not considered to be in the same league as these drugs). The flashy media events we all watch following a “big drug bust”, are only that . . . media events feeding egos, rationalizing promotions, securing salary increases and justifying additional underlings for the deployment of ever more impotent engagements. Footage of paramilitary operations smoking out low level mill-hands in the jungles of Columbia provide abundant self-serving gratification for the senior levels of the food chain.

All told, it costs somewhere near $200 billion for drug policy enforcement by all levels of government. A bloated judicial system, lawyers, agents, police and jails are all part of this juggernaut feeding copiously from the taxpayer trough. Making money is fine and everyone should be able to find work, but could they at least show taxpayers a positive trend resulting from such expensive efforts? Fear mongering keeps the trough replenished without much squabble but dispatches little succor to all the communities passionately struggling for answers.

The single most important element in the drug food chain is the pusher. It is not the grower. It is not the transporter. It is not smuggler. It is not the financier. It is not even the user. Eliminate the pusher, and we begin to bring stability to the user population. Only then can rehabilitation begin to have some impact. Sure we can provide parents with more effective tools, or provide schools with videos presenting the ravages of drugs on the human body, or other variations on “Just Say No”, (forget the idiocy of urine sampling on school kids). Unfortunately there are only two effective actions the system can take against the malignant and lethal invasion - legalization and extreme punishment.

Legalization would radically bring product value down eliminating the lure of easy cash for the pusher. Legalization and government controlled distribution is a solution that will take years to see daylight. Extreme punishment on the other hand means putting away a pusher for life. No one can look at a “life” sentence and think, “I can handle that,” as one might with a few months of a couple of years. Elimination of the pusher means elimination of any PR or promotion to any product in the drug firmament and eliminating the process of, "The first three are on me, the fourth one . . . well, then you're mine!"

Our collective historic relationship with cigarettes and alcohol can form the basis for our strategy on the drug front. Its review can provide us with some of the common sense required as we take decisive actions to deal with a problem which is rotting us from within. We advertised and promoted cigarettes and alcohol, creating broad dependence and building enormous pools of wealth making it impossible to unravel the structures that grew for their production and delivery.

The judicial system should be provided the very strictest of guidelines for punishment, not vague, approximations for sentencing. Focus on the pusher. I also don’t differentiate here between the pusher we all see on so many of our street corners and the supposed friend who turns a friend on to a drug. It’s rare that someone gets up suddenly one day and says, “I’m in the mood to do some heroin today.” That just doesn’t happen. That’s not how drug use expands. Use grows maliciously and with intent. Self-serving friends make money from friends, and “friends” are easy picking since there are few behavioral forces more powerful than peer pressure. Perhaps such malicious and malignant individuals don’t really fit the definition of “friend.” A pusher by any other name . . .

Perhaps we can gradually implement what is right, rather than abiding obstinately with what is expedient and rarely in the collective best interest. Perhaps we can expunge our "lack of will," and abate the damage inflicted on society.


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